by Latoya Peterson
On Sunday night, I sat down to watch the premiere of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency after catching two or three specials on the making of the series while browsing HBO.
Now, let me just put this out there: I approached the series with some trepidation. First, I have never read the books. The novels, written by Alexander McCall Smith, are generally well received but knock up against some very strong views I hold about the narrative and stories of people of color. Since the voices of both women and PoCs tend to be marginalized in mainstream publishing, I try to seek out and support authors who would not otherwise be heard. So, instead of buying McCall Smith’s story about a woman from Botswana, I’d rather track down a book written by a woman from Botswana. I’ve written about this before in White Authors, Ethnic Characters and fleshed out my thoughts about times when it goes right and times when it goes wrong, but have decided to err on the side of supporting smaller authors (and smaller publishing houses).
However, the series was tempting to me from the get-go, as I love Jill Scott and like to support her work. In addition, the series is on HBO with a predominantly black cast in a time when diversity on television declines with each passing year.
Jill Scott stars as Precious Ramotswe, a kind hearted “woman of traditional build” with a penchant for mysteries and bush tea. Anika Noni Rose is Grace Makutsi, Precious’ quirky secretary. Lucian Msamati (J. L. B.Matekoni) and Desmond Dube (B K) round out the cast. Continue reading